Written by Alex Goff    Thursday, 02 January 2014 22:48    PDF Print Write e-mail
A Look at the 7s Players at the OTC
Sevens - USA Sevens Men


The USA 7s team is in camp and as many as 30 players might be in camp once a few questions are answered.

Danny Barrett at the World Club 7s. Ian Muir photoOf the players who were in camp, two have left. Nate Augspurger was not renewed, succumbing to the intense competition among all the halfbacks vying for spots. In addition, Zac Mizell has returned to Arkansas to complete studies at Arkansas State University. Mizell was hoping to complete his academic work remotely, but won't be able to, and so is finishing up in Jonesboro. He will be able to join the USA program at the Olympic Training Center, but when remains a question.

In addition, there are other players expected to join soon. Tim Maupin was offered a place and has, at present, declined, but that apparently could change. Chris Chapman has also been offered a spot. The NYAC center is currently in Australia, and hasn't confirmed whether he will move to the OTC or not. Dartmouth all-everything Madison Hughes has been invited and is expected to join the team soon.

And three players are expected to join the five currently in camp under the US military's World Class Athlete Program (WCAP).

The five WCAP players in camp right now are:
Nu'u Punimata, Eric Duechle, Andrew Locke, Ben Leatigaga, and Marcus Sitavu.

Punimata was capped by the USA 7s team while with Old Puget Sound Beach, left the program to enlist in the National Guard, and returned to the team as a WCAP player. Duechle was a star at the Air Force Academy and has been playing with Belmont Shore while stations in the Southern California. Locke was a star for West Point and an All American in 2005-06, before serving tours overseas as an officer with the US Army. Leatigaga was an accomplished player for West Point and played in the CRC for Army. Sitavu is an enlisted man in the Army who first got noticed by previous USA Coach Alex Magleby.

Nineteen additional players are in camp or expected to be in camp very soon. They are:
Danny Barrett
Garrett Bender
Patrick Blair
Andrew Durutalo
Nick Edwards
Tai Enosa
Pono Haitsuka
Jack Halalilo
Folau Niua. Dobson Images.Carlin Isles
Ben Nicholls
Folau Niua
Ryan Matyas
Shalom Suniula
Mike Te'o
Zack Test
Brett Thompson
Stephen Tomasin
Chris Turori
Mike Ziegler

Isles is back from a week with the Detroit Lions practice squad. Several of the players, notably Matyas and Ziegler, were out with injury, but appear to be on the mend. Bender rejoins the program after about two years away, thanks to injury and maybe needing some time.

Perhaps the biggest addition is Barrett, who was outstanding for the USA Selects team at the Americas Rugby Championship, but school and injury prevented him from joining the full Eagle squad in November. He also played well for San Francisco in the World Club 7s. As a hard-charging, unafraid forward, Barrett could be one of the best.


(Addendum. Miles Craigwell is also absent from this list, but his job with Serevi in Seattle was expected to be competition with an OTC contract.)